I delight, as brother E. D. Woolley has just observed, in my religion,
and had rather talk about it than upon any other subject. I esteem it
the only true system of religion, and its practice the only correct
course of life. In it are the only true principles of philosophy: it
comprehends all true science known by man, angels, and the Gods. There
is one true system and science of life; all else tends to death. That
system emanates from the Fountain of life.
But to say that we love our religion, and delight to live it and talk
about it, is, in comparison, like a person's telling those who are
fond of it how sweet and delicious honey is—how much better they like
it than they do mud! Or, to use another comparison, it is like a
person's telling how much pleasanter it is to prosecute a long journey
over mountains, deserts, and streams, with his eyes open, than it is
to grope his way blindfolded! That is about the comparison, when we
speak concerning the prin ciples of eternal life and those principles
that tend to death.
You hear men speak about going to transact temporal business. Suppose
you cease the temporal, where is your spiritual business? Does it not
end? Yes; and if you wish to live, prepare to live today. My religion
comprehends all the mental and physical powers; and a man who realizes
this never allows himself to go about any work without wishing and
striving to enjoy the principles of eternal life.
I will say a few words in reference to those who are about to start on
missions to preach the Gospel, and those who are going on business. If
those who are going to preach do not go with that faith that pertains
to eternal life, and that spirit that is like a well of water,
springing up into everlasting life, their labors will be vain. They
may be the best theoretical theologians in the world—may be able to
preach a Bible and a half in a sermon, to read history without a book, and understand all the dealings with men from the days of Adam
till now; and, without the Spirit of the living God to guide them,
they will not be able to accomplish anything to their credit towards
building up his kingdom. They must realize that success in preaching
the Gospel springs not from the wisdom of this world. They must so
live as to enjoy the power of God: otherwise, they may bring home
their converts; but what are they good for? They are not worth
bringing across the Plains; for, after their arrival, they annoy and
disturb the peace of others. Do such come here to build up Zion? Did
such persons love the Gospel? No; or, if they did, they lost that love
while coming here.
If persons receive the power of God through the Gospel, and turn away,
they very soon manifest the spirit they are of. Some do not receive
the power of God, but they obey the first principles of the Gospel,
live it to all outward appearance, and by-and-by manifest that they do
not love it. Though you can scarcely discern the difference by their
outward acts, time will disclose who are Saints and who are not.
The day will come when the cry will be—"Lo, the bridegroom cometh; go
ye out to meet him." Till that time, the Elders who go to preach
should go clothed upon with the power of God—filled with the Holy
Ghost, that they may be enabled to perform a work that will be
acceptable in the sight of High Heaven. Do I say, love your enemies?
Yes, upon certain principles. But you are not required to love their
wickedness: you are only required to love them so far as concerns a
desire and effort to turn them from their evil ways, that they may be
saved through obedience to the Gospel.
I have observed in this Church from the beginning, that when Elders
follow others in the work of the ministry, they wish congregations,
Conferences, societies, and all people to respect them a little more
than anybody else; and this feeling will more or less beset the Elders
now about to go forth. You would like to have the people think that
you know a little more than any other persons—particularly more than
your predecessors, and that all you teach is just right. I wish you to
build up every man who is in the faith of the Gospel—who is in the
faith of God, angels, and good men; and if you strive to pull down
good men who are around you, you are sure to fall yourselves. Tell the
people what we have in Utah—that we have the light of the Gospel, that
we hold the keys of the kingdom, and that here is the place to be
cleansed, purified, and sanctified by the furnace of affliction. Do
not tell them that gold grows on our trees, and that their troubles
will all be over when they arrive here. The Saints are not tried in
the world as they are here. True, they have trials among their friends
and relations, but those trials are not such as they meet here. Tell
them that, in gathering, they are going to the thrashing machine—that
they will then be run through the smutter, afterwards through the
mill; and if they prove to be fine flour, they will be saved: if not,
all their previous righteousness will be counted as nothing.
When people receive the Gospel, their minds are opened; they see Zion
in its glory; but they do not see the troubles on the Plains, or the
troubles with false brethren. They are young, weak, and unprepared to
receive those things which the Lord will suffer to come upon them.
They are not prepared for those trials that will purify and prepare
them for exaltation; their minds are only prepared for the riches and
fulness of the glory of God that has been shown to them when the vision of their minds was opened by the Spirit of the living
God; and but little do they know what they have to pass through.
You need not teach that this place is Zion, or that Nauvoo or Missouri
is Zion; but tell the people that North and South America are the land
of Zion, and that our God will finish his work where he commenced it,
where the Center Stake of Zion is, and where the Garden of Eden was.
Say to them—"If you want to become as gold seven times purified, go up
to Utah." Gather the Saints, but do not flatter; invite, but do not
urge, and by no means compel anyone. Gather the Saints here as
quickly as possible. Why? Because among the nations their dreams and
reflections are all joy and glory, and they know but little else until
after they arrive here. Some must come here in order to apostatize. We
have thought that we could try to stop that class in the States, and
let them apostatize there; but we cannot. They think all things should
be here now as they are in heaven. This is the very place for them
also, and we want them here as soon as possible.
Brethren and sisters, I like to meet with and speak to you; I also
like to reason with myself, to instruct myself, and to consider
whether I can detect in myself anything that should not be. I strive
to know myself, and would be pleased to have you all strive to know
yourselves. Put away all unkind feelings, and let all your meditations
be correct—precisely as they should be. I like to ascertain whether my
feelings and meditations are correct, and whether in other
circumstances I should feel as I now do. But leave that in the hands
of the Lord; for my labors and reflections to purify this people and
prepare them for the things that are to come, to instruct them, and
urge them to look at themselves as they look at their neighbors, seem
to bear upon my mind with greater weight.
Contentions frequently arise to so alienating a degree that brethren
have no faith in each other's honesty and integrity, when, perhaps,
both parties have stumbled over a little, selfish, ignorant, personal
misunderstanding, and are carrying it to the extent of wishing to cut
each other off from the Church. Very frequently such cases are
presented before me. Unravel the difficulty, and it is found to have
started in a trifling misunderstanding in relation to some small
matter; all the trouble has arisen from a most frivolous cause. Avoid
nursing misunderstandings into difficulties. Some talk with a heavy,
deep stress upon their words, without intending anything harsh or
unkind. Sometimes a little misunderstanding in dealing causes a
contention, and the parties become alienated. An offended person will
ask himself, "Does that man want to cheat me?" Or, "Does that sister
mean to lie to me?" Or, "Does that neighbor mean to wrong me?"
you decide, learn, if you can, the design in the heart of the actor.
A few Sabbaths ago, I compared the mind of man to machinery. The human
family frame certain ideas or notions in their minds; and when they
get them arranged to suit themselves, it seems impossible to induce
them to give them up. When the idea of inventing perpetual motion
possesses the mind of an individual, he will waste all his time and
substance, rather than give it up. A person will get an idea that he
must be a merchant, and handle a few calicos and cloths, and deal them
out by the yard. I would not condescend to such business: but some
cannot see anything else. Why? Because they do not like any other
business. We should divest ourselves of all feelings of selfishness,
become like clay in the hands of the potter, and say, "I have no mind
of my own; it must be passive, and suffer God to direct. He has
given me good powers of mind, and he shall have the privilege of
directing them." Then you can enjoy this, that, or the other, and all
will be right.
We, as other people, have our minds formed according to the liberty we
enjoy and the education and intelligence we have received. We frame,
fashion, compose, and arrange things in our mind—form this, that, and
the other plan, and say, "I am going to such a city;" "I will
"I will make me a farm;" "I will go to the east, west, north, or
south, and will do thus and so." Do you not know that the whole human
family are more or less working upon this principle? Many do not seem
to realize that they cannot go to any city and buy and sell, or make a
farm, or go to the canyons, to California, to the States, or do this
and that, without God permits. The result of the doings of the
children of men are all in the hands of God; then shall I say that I
will do thus and so? I will stop, unless the Lord requires at my hands
such a performance of mental or physical labor. I will wait, for I
wish to spend my strength and life upon sure ground. My acts,
principles, and powers must be directed by the Almighty, that the
results may be according to my desires; and they cannot, unless I am
The nations and kingdoms of this world are striving for something to
make them happy; but if they will pause and consider that though they
may go to a city on the right, to another on the left, to the east,
west, north, and south, and do as they choose, unless the Almighty
directs, they may expect the result will be darkness and death.
The Lord has placed mankind here, and offered them salvation without
money and without price. All who take a course opposite to that which
is marked out will come to an end. Which is the best—life or death?
Bitter or sweet? Let your lives be so directed that the results may be
according to your wishes. No man will attain the results he desires
without striving for them, while he who will act his part will receive
the honor and glory of God as a reward for his labors.
I will urge upon the Elders who are going abroad, and who are judges
in Israel, to remember that "there are many masters, but few fathers;"
and I wish you to be fathers. Do not oppress the poor, but trust in
God, and, you will go neither hungry, naked, nor thirsty. If you
oppress the poor, the day will come when you will be naked, thirsty,
and hungry, and will not be able to get anything to supply your wants.
Go trusting in God, and continue to trust in him, and he will open
your way and multiply blessings upon you, and your souls will be
satisfied with his goodness. I cannot promise you any good in taking
an unrighteous course; your lives must be examples of good works. You
know that some men have said, "We have worked long enough for the
Lord; we are now going to work for ourselves." They never worked at
all for the Lord. The ignorance of such men is deplorable; they do not
know so much as the brutes, for they know enough to come to the crib
whence they procure their food; but these characters do not know
enough to come and be fed.
We are made intelligent, and are heirs of the everlasting kingdom.
Unless we forfeit that heirship, we are heirs to the glory and power
of worlds to come; but we must take a course to maintain the position
that we occupy. We are the children of our Father in heaven; and
unless we do that which will cause our names to be blotted out, and
our right to the blessings of the kingdom cut off, all will be
well. Let us take a course to save all who will hearken to our
counsel; let us be kind and charitable to all people, doing unto
others as we would they should do unto us in like circumstances, and
the blessings of our Father will be multiplied unto us.
I will relate a little of my course and experience in my family. I
have a large family of children, many of them small, and yet I do not
think that you ever saw even four children in one family live together
with so little contention. Watch them, and their conduct will prove
that there is a good spirit influencing them. I never knew one of them
to be accidentally hurt, without more sympathies being extended to
that one than the whole of them needed. You may ask how I manage to
bring about this result. I seldom give a child a cross word; I seldom
give a wife a cross word; and I tell my wives never to give a child
cause to doubt their word. A child loves the smiles of its mother, but
hates her frowns. I tell the mothers not to allow the children to
indulge in evils, but at the same time to treat them with mildness. If
a child is required to step in a certain direction, and it does not
seem willing to do so, gently put it in the desired way, and say,
There, my little dear, you must step when I speak to you. Children
need directing and teaching what is right in a kind, affectionate
The Elders who are going abroad should deal out kindness to those they
are sent to watch over, and your smiles will be far better than your
cursings could be.
A child at five years old would disobey me much oftener than one at
fifteen. Do you not think that is a good sign? Some may ask whether I
may not lose some of my children. I cannot tell. God gave them to me;
and if one of them is lost, I want to be able to say, Have I failed to
bring them up in a right and acceptable manner? I have done all that I
could. Have I done right? It is in thy hands.
Brethren and sisters, we are improving and increasing in the truth,
though slowly. I can realize improvement in myself; my sensitive
powers are quickened, and I can discern a growth in others that
Instead of divisions and excitements, we are preparing for the kingdom
of heaven. Walk up to the line of right, for the kingdom is powerful,
and is becoming more powerful every year. Your patience and integrity
are on the increase; keep faithful until we can return and begin to
build up the Center Stake of Zion, and be ready for whatever may be
required of us.
I desire to live upon this earth till I see righteousness
established. Is there a Saint who wishes to see disorder and confusion
here? No: all wish to see the peace of God constantly resting upon the
people. Ask sister Cook, who has for years taught my children music,
whether she ever saw or heard me scold. She never did; but my children
must mind father. Is this feeling increasing among the Saints? It is;
and the Lord will increase it as fast as the people are prepared; and
the Saints will have oil in their lamps, and will be received at the
wedding as the bride of the Lamb.
Be patient. Judge not your brethren in their frivolous faults, nor for
faults that are not designed for injury.
God bless you! Amen.